During the public hearing, trustees will discuss changing from a seven-member board to a five-member board and having residents vote for representatives based on where they live.
The California Voting Rights Act of 2001 has made at-large elections in school districts and cities open to legal attacks, so many cities and school districts have adopted a “by-trustee” style of election. In a by-trustee election, only people who live in a candidate’s geographic area are allowed to vote for that candidate.
At the board’s Dec. 10 meeting, David Soldani of the Fresno-based law firm Atkinson, Lloyd Ruud & Romo presented the board with demographic information about Patterson and its voting population, breaking it down into categories such as Latino voting population, citizens age 18 and older and population by race.
Having an election to change the way trustees are voted in can be costly, however. As a result, many school districts seek waivers of the voter-approval requirement from the state board of education.
The regular meeting of the Patterson Unified board will immediately follow the public hearing Monday.